Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
The first version of the Royal Scrittore, still for sale (new) by Adler Royal on Amazon, for $US118.99.
The same typewriter now being offered (as a Rover 5000 Super Deluxe) - a "looks-like-new collectible" - on US eBay for $US44.99It would surely not have been often in the 139-year history of the typewriter trade that a brand-new portable typewriter was being offered for sale at the same time as it was up for auction as a "collectible".
Mind you, some people who have bought Chinese-made portables new and have been so disgusted with them that they have put them up for sale on eBay almost immediately.
At least partly for that reason, perhaps Chinese-made Rover 5000 portables pop on eBay in various parts of the world more regularly than I am aware. But this morning I noted the one above listed as a "collectible type writer" from Hutchinson, Kansas (item #121232433219).
Meanwhile, over on Amazon, the exact same typewriter is still for sale as the Royal Scrittore - at $US119.
This "revived Royal" model was reviewed by me in my first "Portables, ETCetera" column, in the September 2012 edition of ETCetera.
My Scrittore IIt has since been succeeded by the Royal Scrittore II, which is the same typewriter in the resurrected "modernistic" casing of the Olympia Traveller C.
Richard Polt's Royal Scrittore II
My Olympia Traveller CRichard Polt reviewed the Scrittore II on his Writing Ball blog here.
These Scrittore IIs can be bought for $185 here. Believe it or not, they are "out of stock" at Amazon - there must have been a run on them! (But perhaps not based on Richard's review?)
There are a few of the Scrittore Is at WordPlay in Cincinnati:
I readily confess that about eight years ago I bought a second-hand Rover 5000 and a Generation 3000 on eBay, including in the US, but purely out of curiosity. Naturally, I regretted having done so, but not so much as buying a new Olivetti MS25 Premier Plus (same line).
My Rover 5000s are the same model as the plastic Olympia Splendid. The Generation 3000 is the same as the Royal Scrittore I. In other words, these models have been around for more than 10 years now, possibly more than 15, and therefore I suppose they could be considered "collectibles".
"Classic Retro Style" - "Rare Classic"
The Scrittore (it’s Italian for writer) series was launched by Royal Consumer Information Productions in Somerset, New Jersey, in January 2012. It replaced the Royal ME25, RoyType MS25 and the Olivetti MS25 series. The typewriters are made by the Shanghai Weilv Mechanism Company (established 2004) in the Luxiang Industrial Zone, south-west of Shanghai City.
The Scrittore's initial advertising lines included: “[It] offers essential functions that are easy for even the most grizzled sportswriter to operate.” “Not a reconditioned model, it is one of the few manuals still being manufactured today, with a compact profile reminiscent of Olivetti's iconic Lettera 22 typewriter that was favoured by journalists and students in the 1950s.”
“This is the classic manual typewriter reminiscent of those used by Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams and Jack Kerouac to create their classic literary works … it recalls the thoughtful, well-written correspondence of yesteryear. Devoid of technological crutches such as spell-check and deletion, each of its 44 keys requires a firm, purposeful stroke for a steady click-clacking cadence that encourages the patient, considered sentiment of a wordsmith who thinks before writing. Using a 10-characters-per-inch Pica 87 font, it faithfully reproduces the eclectic printed impressions of its forebears - variable kerning, subtly ghosted letters and nuanced baseline shifts - imparting unique, personal character to every letter, piece of prose, or verse of poetry.”
IMAGINE, IF YOU CAN ...
"Blow this old thing," says big Papa. "Quick, give me my Scrittore!"
"Oh, dear, this'll never do," says Tennessee. "Where's that damned Scrittore?"
When buying on Amazon, the Scrittore’s distributor, via Elite in Hong Kong, is a division of the New Jersey-headquartered Acedepot called Pop Pop. This company, which handles a range of manual portable typewriters, intriguingly shares the same Charlotte, North Carolina, address as Nakajima-North American Distribution (both are part of the Carolina Wholesale Group, Arlington Industries). Nakajima, which maintains links with China, claims that for more than “35 years [it] has been the ‘behind the scenes’ designer and manufacturer of many of the industry’s best known typewriter brands throughout the world”.
Monday, 9 December 2013
Richard's note left in the platen of the Olympia SM2 for its trip across the Pacific. You can easily tell that Richard has a far lighter typing touch than I do!
I should have pointed put that this is a typewriter Richard himself serviced for WordPlay before it was put on sale there. In other words, it is in tip-top condition.
See the history below
OK, so the SM2 on the right is burgundy, but can I now call it a "purple" "Cairo Rose", to also remember Cincinnati and my "The Purple Rose of Cairo" experiences there?
THE HISTORY OF
SPITZFADEN OFFICE SUPPLIES
629 MAIN STREET
By Robert Messenger
his year marks 140 years since the formation of the printing company which would ultimately become Spitzfaden Office Supplies. The company, Woodrow, Jones & Skinner, was established in 1873 by three very young, ambitious Ohioans at 35 West 3rd Street, Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Directory, 1873
The group was led by the 17-year-old son of a wealthy Cincinnati ironmaster. Clifford Trimble Woodrow was born in Cincinnati on May 2, 1856, the sixth child and fifth son of David Trimble Woodrow and his wife Louisa. David Woodrow (1812-1892) was a leading manufacturer and iron and steel merchant who had returned to Cincinnati in the year of Clifford’s birth, 1856, after spending the early 1850s as a trader in Maysville, Kentucky. He made stoves, hollow ware and castings, owned an Ironton Iron and Steel Company warehouse and the Clifton Nail Works, was a partner in the Ironton foundry, rolling mill and Howard furnace and was a trustee of the Cincinnati Water Works and Miami University.
Joining Clifford Woodrow in the 1873 printing company venture were Cleveland-born George Winfield Jones and Samuel Wiggins Skinner.
Their partnership did not last long and the next year, 1874, Clifford Woodrow enlisted yet another young man in forming a job printing company at 101 West Front Street, this time Canadian-born James Henry Leland.
Paper, ink, type and printing were very much in Clifford Woodrow’s blood. There were many printers in his family, notably his elder brother, William Howard Woodrow. The Western Reserve Chronicle of Warren, Ohio, reported during the Civil War: "Among the gallant young men who left Warren in obedience to the call for volunteers, and who now form a part of the 84th Infantry Regiment at this time, are two printers of this office. They are W.H. Woodrow and R.P. Leisenring … That they will do their duty, and their whole duty, as soldiers, we have no fears. They have done this as printers, and they will do no less in their new calling.” An uncle, Henry Bascom Woodrow, and his son Samuel Bradford Woodrow, were also printers, as were Clifford’s elder brother Frank Henry Woodrow (1854-1907) and two other family members, James and David.
In 1880 Clifford joined Frank in forming Frank H. Woodrow & Brother, “fine stationers and steel and copper plate engravers” of 16 West 4th Street. Engraving was Frank’s forte while profitably running businesses was Clifford’s. By 1889 Clifford had formed another company, Woodrow, Baldwin & Company (with Walter Baldwin and T.A. Hayes), “stationers, printers and blank book manufacturers” of Walnut Street. This was Clifford’s first venture into office supplies.
Clifford Woodrow was a rather flamboyant man for his time. When he was married, to Margaret Andrews “Pinkie” Tillman, in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 4, 1890, newspapers reported:
For many years after her marriage Margaret “Pinkie” Tillman Woodrow ran the Cincinnati Women’s Exchange, an organisation formed in March 1883 which enabled poor women to sell items to “ladies of means”.
In 1895 Woodrow, Baldwin & Co became the Woodrow-Ryder Company, with Clifford as president and Thomas W. Ryder his new partner. By 1899 this had become the Woodrow Stationery and Printing Company, with Frank Woodrow as engraving manager – the company also made die sinkers. In 1909 Clifford owned this company outright, but in 1912 he took on a new partner in E.A. Bradley, and later S.A. Scott (while retaining the Woodrow-Bradley name). Scott continued to work for Woodrow into the late 1920s.
The major change came in 1927, when Clifford Woodrow merged his stationery company with those of two other leading Cincinnati stationers, William Harrison Stanage (born Cincinnati, December 14, 1876) and Gustav Adolph Weil (born Cincinnati, April 27, 1873) to form Woodrow-Weil-Stanage. Woodrow was president of the new organisation, with Stanage and Weil vice-presidents. The merger meant the company had one main office, what was formerly Stanage’s at 119 East 6th Street, but three salesrooms – Woodrow’s at 726 Main Street (now the Ohio Book Store), Weil’s at 16 East 12th Street and Stanage’s at 121 East 6th Street. Woodrow-Weil-Stanage justifiably used the advertising line of "Cincinnati's leading stationer".
Cincinnati Directory, 1925
Cincinnati Directory, 1926
The Weil company was known as Max Weil & Company, but the proprietor was Gustav Weil. New York-born Max Weil (1872-1927) may have been the major original investor, but he was elsewhere heavily involved, in cotton goods manufacturing in Cincinnati. It is not known how these two Weils were related.
Cincinnati Directory, 1928
Carl Louis Spitzfaden had been secretary of Stanage’s company since 1916, and with the merger he took over the same role with Woodrow-Weil-Stanage. A bookkeeper by training, Spitzfaden had in 1907 been a clerk in the auditor’s office of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St Louis Railway, before branching out on his own. He was also a director of the First National Bank of Mount Healthy and treasurer of the Mount Healthy Saving and Loan Company.
Carl Spitzfaden was born in Springfield, Ohio, on February 20, 1884, the eldest child and only son of Michael A. Spitzfaden and his wife Rosalie (“Lizzie”). Michael Spitzfaden was born in the Palatinate region of south-western Germany in 1854 and immigrated with his family to the United States the next year.
Carl L. Spitzfaden was promoted from company secretary of Woodrow-Weil-Stanage to also take on the roles of treasurer and sales manager. Clifford Woodrow died on December 26, 1931, and was succeeded by William Stanage as company president.
In 1939 Spitzfaden took over the firm from Stanage, reorganised it and renamed it Carl L. Spitzfaden Incorporated, now headquartered at its present address at 629 Main Street. (Using the former company’s goodwill, built up over 12 years, Spitzfaden also retained the name Woodrow-Weil-Stanage, at the same address. The telephone number PArkway 1885 was also retained.)
Cincinnati Directory, 1940
Carl Spitzfaden died on April 30, 1945, aged 61. His wife, Ethel May Schwarz Spitzfaden (born Lockland, Ohio, December 14, 1886), remained at the couple’s home at Mount Healthy until she died on August 25, 1969, aged 82.
Carr S. Spitzfaden
The couple had one son, Carl (later Carr) Stewart Spitzfaden (born Cincinnati, March 29, 1919; died Cincinnati, November 15, 1999, aged 80). After the death of his father, Carr Stewart Spitzfaden took over as president of Carl L. Spitzfaden Incorporated, with Mrs Edith M. Kenny, of Covington, Kentucky, as secretary-treasurer. Her husband, John J. Kenny, was a salesman with Spitzfaden's.
William Harrison Stanage, the last survivor of the Woodrow-Weil-Stanage merger of 1927, died in Cincinnati in 1954.